Jury Duty, we all gotten that letter, summon you to be at the court house at 8am in the morning to be a potential jury. On Monday that where I was. It my 2nd time being summoned and having to show up. I do remember my mom calling me when I was going to school that I was called up for jury duty, lucky enough that was a excuse to be dismissed.
Well Monday morning, showed up at the court house, and when through all the security screening. I did have my small bag with me which I had all my stuff to hopefully keep me busy if I wasn’t called. A book to read and my sketchbook along with some color pencils and black drawing pens. Followed everyone else to the jury room, turn in my paper, took a sit and await for everyone to take their sit. Then the judge came in, gave a little speech and swore everyone in. There was 30 minute wait until they started calling people and for some reason I had a feeling they would call me. The first group of 65 people they called, I was number 4. Out of those 65 people, 12 would be selected to be a jury member in a aggravated assault case. The judge hearing the case was the same one who swore us in.
So 65 of us waited outside the court room, for more then 30 minutes. Watching people passing by as they exited the building or going through the metal detectors and screen by the security guards. Looking at the people coming out entering and exiting the court room thinking that was the person to tell us, you are all dismissed or that they are ready for us to enter the court room. Seeing attorneys talking to their clients in the hallways. We were called in by a security guard, entering the room, seeing both the defense council and prosecutor standing in front of the room with the judge behind them. It was a weird feeling since I was sitting front row only to later hear that I along with the rest of people sitting front row have the best chance of being one of the 12 members that are going to be select.
In the next hour or so both prosecutor and defense will be questioning us and just walking us through the process of what assault is and the punishment. Trying to see what people opinions are and how they feel about punishment and sentencing someone, to our bias against the defense client, to witness, and police officer. My whole thought process was not to say anything. I didn’t want to stand out, but both council mention that it usually the quiet ones that get selected. That really didn’t change my mind about not speaking out. It wasn’t because I didn’t want to, I had nothing to say or to ask. This was a whole new experience for me and a lot of the information was just not sticking in my head. We were dismissed for lunch and am sure just like me, there were people wondering if they would be pick and just like me am sure there were a lot of people who didn’t want to be pick.
Everyone return from lunch and all 65 of us waited and watched people going by. Then the security guard came out and everyone attention was toward him. Hoping to hear good news that we were going to be let go, but the guard was just asking us for our jury pin that we were giving earlier in the morning. From across the hall someone ask him is this a good sign, the guard reply maybe. Again we waited for a few minutes and again the guard come out and call out a name. We saw the guard along with this individual disappear behind the courtroom doors. After about 5 minutes that person came out, but again the guard came out. Everyone eyes focus on him, but the guard call another person name and they disappeared behind the courtroom doors.
The person came out after five minutes in the courtroom. My mind was wondering if these were some of the people who spoke out during the defense and prosecutor questions. Was it something in their response that they weren’t sure or were they being told they were selected to be one of 12 jurors. The guard appear again this time telling all us to come in and just to sit where ever. As everyone pour into the court, no one dared to sit in the front row. I guess no one want to be called or take the chance to be assign a jury sit. I sat on the second row and as everyone us was finding and taking a sit, the guard said in my direction we know who you are. Then the judge said some final words along with both state council and defense. The judge gave some directions, that if your name is called to come sit to the left side of the room where 12 sits awaited. Names being called, I wasn’t sure if they were by number or by last name. The third name they called out was a lady that was sitting next to me, she was number 3. After that I was listening to the last name being call and after the 8th juror called, I was sure I wasn’t going to be pick. It was a relief that I didn’t hear my name. Then the judge thank everyone for their time, honestly and he was going to dismiss us for the day. The guard mention we wouldn’t be dismiss and we all need to report back the the jury room. The judge was a surprise since that has never happen since he been judge. At the same time as the guard said, “report to the jury room” a female clerk walk in waving in the air a piece of paper that was our ticket that we were done for the day. We were officially dismissed from jury duty. We all could go home with the exception of the 12 people called.